2017 NBA Playoffs: BIG Week for the Celtics Franchise
These next two days will be some of the most important days in franchise history for the Boston Celtics. After Ray left in Free Agency and Danny Ainge broke up that 2008 Championship core of Pierce, KG, and Doc, I remember thinking to myself it was going to take forever for us to see the return with these first round picks. Fast forward to today and the direction of our franchise over the next decade or so will be decided by how the ping pong balls drop on Tuesday night. There have been a lot of Boston beat writers who have posed the question "Which would you rather have happen: Celtics lose Game 7 and win the lottery, or they win Game 7 and get the 4th pick". If we had our way, we would get both.
I was in unfamiliar territory watching Game 6. I'm weird as fuck and I have this ritual of watching all important Pats and Celtics games by myself in the crib. Yes I know, that’s about as introvert as you can get. But it works for me and I don't have anyone bugging me when I'm trying to focus. But I was in Chicago watching the game in a club and had to go through an emotional roller coaster after being up 5 late and having to see John Wall hit that game winner. We should have closed them out in 6, but here we are with a Game 7 in the most exciting series of the playoffs thus far. I guess it was destined to go 7 from the jump.
We've done all the analysis we can do on this series, so with Game 7 looming it's really just about who wants it more. Both teams know each other's strengths and weaknesses, they know each other's plays, and they know what to expect. It could very well come down to the same factor that it has in all 10 games these two teams have played this season: home court advantage. Our bench had a whopping 5 points in Game 6 and our bench plays a thousand times better at home. Kelly Olynyk is such an important player for us and when he's on the road he has absolutely zero confidence whatsoever. But tonight we need a textbook game from IT and Horford. I never thought I would say this but Horford has been the most consistent player for us in this entire series, and also one of the most consistent in the whole league this postseason. We don't need 53 from IT, but he's only scored 19 per game over the past 4 games after dropping 53 and that's not going to cut it. His turnover in the final minute after a double team that should have been expected by him might have cost us the game. All I know is this is going to be a great finale tonight, and I'm hoping that come Wednesday night I'll be watching us play the Cavs while eating a sammich from the Chick-Fil-A that's about to open next to my house.
But tomorrow night is the night I've been waiting for since the beginning of the season. If we land the #1 pick we'll be able to pair Markelle Fultz with IT to form a Washington Huskies backcourt that has the potential to be one of the best for a long, long time. I've been pretty consistent with my viewpoint on this draft pick for a long time now; I don't want to trade it at all. Not for PG, not for Jimmy Butler. Give me a soon-to-be 19 year old Fultz on a rookie contract over either of those guys any day of the week. I'm telling y'all this kid is legit. Lonzo gets all of the media shine and nationally televised games and everything, but Markelle is cut from that James Harden/Russell Westbrook cloth in terms of playmaking ability and athleticism, respectively. If we're able to draft him and then sign Gordon Hayward this summer, you really can't tell me shit.
KG retired last year, Pierce just threw in the towel, and Doc is still getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. But the end results of breaking those 3 up will be determined over the next couple of days. Everything starts tonight with this Game 7 in Boston though. In my preseason forecast, I predicted us to make the Eastern Conference Finals and tonight we can punch our ticket. I haven't seen Bron in the Conference Finals since 2012, and I like our chances to meet him there again this year.